Working to Build “The New LIAT”

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Above: a new LIAT ATR-72

By the Caribbean Journal staff

LIAT’s new Acting CEO Julie Reifer-Jones made her first public statement this week with a letter to staff vowing to build a “new LIAT.”

“At the new LIAT, we are working to build an airline which places the customer, our loyal passengers, at the center of our focus,” she said in the letter, which was released on the 57th anniversary of LIAT’s founding.

“LIAT continues to contribute to the economic and social development of our region, providing important linkages for inter-regional travel as well as for connections to international, particularly trans-Atlantic, travel,” she said.

The company has gone through a difficult period in recent months, led by the resignation of former CEO Captain Ian Brunton and a host of complaints over service issues.

In an optimistic address, however, Reifer-Jones pointed to the company’s ongoing refleeting exercise, which the company expects will mean an entirely new fleet by the end of 2014.

By the end of this year, LIAT will have six new aircraft. The project to transition from Dash-8 planes to new ATR 72s is coming at a total cost of $107 million.

Reifer-Jones also said the company was working to “improve on-time performance and our customer service,” the two most frequent subjects of complaint by LIAT customers.

“”As we go through change once again, we promise to serve our region better and in more efficient ways,” she said. “LIAT continues to contribute to the economic and social development of our region, providing important linkages for inter-regional travel as well as for connections to international, particularly trans-Atlantic, travel.”

The governments of Antigua, Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines are among the company’s major shareholders.

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